Stemilt Reports Bags as a Leading Merchandising Strategy to Navigate Apple Sales

Mon. November 9th, 2020
- by Chandler James     

WENATCHEE, WA - While apple volumes and dollars may have dipped in the previous month, Stemilt revealed in its Fruit Tracker Fast Facts that apple bags continue to be a leading merchandising strategy. Breaking down category info, harvest updates, packaging opportunities, and more, the apple growing team has the goods to back up new retail programs for winter.

Brianna Shales, Senior Marketing Manager, Stemilt“As harvest winds down, we know that the crop is shorter than last year’s record apple crop,” said Brianna Shales, Senior Marketing Manager. “This fact means that retail dollars will need to strengthen over the next several months in order to counter the smaller volumes.”

Apple dollars were down 1.2 percent nationally over the past 12 weeks when compared to the same timeframe the year prior, a press release explained. Pounds were down 0.5 percent, a trend that may continue because of the size differences between last year’s crop and the current crop.

As stated in the release, 38 percent of dollars and 44 percent of volume was generated by packaged apples between August 8 and October 24. Conventional bulk apples were down 8 percent in both dollars and volume year-over-year.

Stemilt revealed in its Fruit Tracker Fast Facts that apple bags continue to be a leading merchandising strategy

“Packaged apples are up 7 percent in dollars and 9.3 percent year-over-year,” stated Shales. “This is influencing apple dollars, as there is currently a $0.50 differential between bags and bulk. There is a balance in the normal disruption and now is the time for retailers to reimagine the way that bulk apples are sold so that we can help shoppers get them into their carts.”

In order to build upon the packaged momentum, Stemilt has a new paper tote bag, Farm + Famous, to help retailers sell core apple varieties at a per-pound price. This packaging allows retailers to sell bulk sizes and high-quality fruit all while driving up the purchase size and capturing valuable dollars.

Stemilt’s new paper tote bag, Farm + Famous, help retailers sell core apple varieties at a per pound price as the totes come pre-packed and are display ready

“We don’t want to let off the gas on bagged apples, but rather reimagine the way bulk apples are being sold during the pandemic,” said Shales. “These totes come pre-packed so that retailers can use our display-ready cartons to instantly build displays for shoppers to grab and get on their way. It’s essential for fitting current shopper behaviors, which don’t look to be changing as we head into the winter months.”

According to Stemilt, Honeycrisp was up nationally 7.6 percent in dollars and 6.8 percent in volume. Fuji had similar growth while dollars and volume were down for Gala.

Stemilt’s Fruit Tracker Fast Facts also covers the pear category along with apples in this latest episode

“Gala is the top volume apple and one that harvests early in the season,” said Shales. “Honeycrisp is the natural favorite for promotions, yet too many ads are focused on this variety alone. It’s a consumer favorite and one people gravitate to naturally, so multi-variety ads are going to be the ticket to win on apple dollars and volumes as we head into the winter months. Promote Honeycrisp but do so alongside other core varieties and at different price points.”

Stemilt also covers the pear category during this episode of Fast Facts: The Cast, which can be accessed here.

“Dollars were relatively flat on pears. Retailers should know that 20 percent of pears are sold via bags currently,” said Shales. “If bags aren’t part of the merchandising strategy, they need to be because of COVID-19 and the fact that many consumers won’t crossover to bulk right now.”

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